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Lacking leadership competencies in your position can be the reason you frequently experience stress, overwhelm, and burnout. It’s unfortunate that some leaders never develop these leadership skills because either they don’t report to a leader who knows how to help them develop these competencies or your own behavior and personality get in your way and you end up repeating the same career limiting mistakes.

Following are 5 key competencies that if mastered will increase your leadership effectiveness dramatically. Now, IntelliStress always assesses the top 25 competencies for every leader we coach. However, we limited our list to these 5 competencies because we believe that they represent the most essential skills for progressive leaders.

While you read through the 5 key competencies of leadership below, think about where you need to develop your skills. Honestly ask yourself that if you made some changes and developed leadership competency, would you be better able to moderate stress for yourself and others at work?

1. Project Management: Identifies and manages all resources, tasks, systems and the team to achieve desired outcomes

For leadership to be effective, you must establish a solid foundation for the projects you lead. You must be good at planning for all the required things you will need to achieve your project goals and objectives. One of these is your ability to employ the right people with the right skills and behaviors to work on your project. Our patented benchmarking process helps you “get the right people in the right seats on the bus.” Next, you must insist that every member of your team maintain high performance standards. You will need to hold people accountable and get them to focus on achieving your project goals and priorities.

Now because you have a bird’s eye view of the project, it’s your job to spot barriers to accomplishing objectives and quickly remove them. This also includes that you ensure adequate resources are available to achieve project objectives.

Some aspects of your leadership responsibilities and authority may be Delegated if you have appropriately developed your team.

More importantly, decisions you make along the way will be critical to success, which means that you will need to ensure decisions you make benefit the outcome of the project rather than because of favouritism or outside pressures.

Throughout the project lifecycle, you will need to continually Plan, organize, motivate and manage resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific project goals. This includes that you focus on the objectives while adapting to project constraints.

Once you master this project management leadership competency, leadership execution will become increasingly predictable and you will eliminate the stress that you experienced because of your project management shortcomings.

2. Influencing Others: Personally affecting others’ behaviors, motivations, ideas and points of view.

To be an influential leader, you must be self-aware and learn to use the knowledge of others’ needs, wants, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior to promote your vision, mission or values. This means you first must build trust and credibility before attempting to influence others.

To personally affect an outcome, you must understand how to use the behaviors of others. This means you will need to get good at using logic and reason to adapt realistic arguments that challenge others’ assumptions and address the obstacles that block people from seeing the benefits. Another important influence strategy is to leverage another person’s credibility in an indirect but important way to meet your objectives. Bottomline, influence is about shifting others to your way of thinking without force or coercion and inspire others by being an example.

When you master the influence leadership competency, you will have the ability to enthusiastically engage people to help you realize your visions while significantly mitigating stress for you and your team because you will have built relationships based on trust instead of coercion.


3. Management: Uniting and motivating people to believe in your vision and creating purpose and direction.

To be an effective leader, you must learn to inspire others with compelling visions while being willing to take risks for your purpose, vision or mission.

You must have the ability to build trust with the people you want to follow you and demonstrate loyalty and integrity with consistency between your words and actions. In other words, you want the tongue in your mouth to be aligned with the tongue in your shoe so that when you say it, others will believe that if you say it then it will happen.

You must optimistically project positive expectations for others and delegate appropriate levels of responsibility and authority. Effective leaders involve people in decisions that affect them. They deal with performance issues straightaway, fairly and consistently.

Now, it’s the leader’s job to adapt systems and approaches to create an environment to empower others to be successful. Decisions must be made that are best for the organization while mitigating the negative impact on people.

When you master the management competency, you will significantly mitigate stress for you and your team because you will lead people to focus in on the vision and mission. They will have purpose and be clear about how they can best contribute. That means that they won’t be focused on conflict, gossip, and selfish pursuits because they will know you want what’s best for them and the project.

4. Employee Development: Mentoring, supporting and contributing to the growth of others’ careers.

The first thing a leader must do to develop people is to encourage them to take initiative and get them to desire to improve. Leaders must be capable of Inspiring confidence in others’ ability to develop professionally. This also means that you must be able to Identify and support developmental opportunities to help your employees grow because you Understand the uniqueness and current level of each team member.

Now, some ways to develop others is to Give new and challenging work assignments and acknowledge and praise improvement. Then, treat missteps as opportunities for learning.

Lack of advancement is a big source of stress for people. When you master this competency to develop your team you will become a source of stress relief for you and others by reducing dissatisfaction in the workplace.


5. Futuristic Thinking: Imagining, envisioning, projecting to create what has not yet been realized.

With this final leadership competency that we will discuss today, we highlight the necessity for forward thinking. Futuristic leaders possess the ability to Create an environment where forward thinking is the norm not the exception. They connect the dots and see the big picture. They look beyond the dynamics driving the current situation that can cause long-term effects.

Leaders who can imagine the future use anticipation and intuition as well as factual events to depict conclusions.

Futuristic leaders recognize, support and champion cutting-edge ideas. They envision possibilities others may not as well as ideas that may be seen as unobtainable.

Lastly, futuristic leaders mentally live in the future and do not allow current systems to cloud their vision.

Because futuristic leaders proactively anticipate potential problems and opportunities, they allow the team to be nimble and respond dynamically to change before it occurs thereby minimizing the potential stress from always being in a reactive posture.


We believe that these 5 crucial leadership competencies should be found in every leaders toolset. However, we acknowledge that some leadership positions may require additional skills beyond the competencies we covered for you today. IntelliStress specializes in leadership development and helping organizations to understand the unique competencies required for any leadership position.